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LONG    LJNCE

through the long, dark, starry night we hear this
plaintive wail coming to our ears from away out
on the broad depths of the plains—the Sun Dance
song. We children sleep very little during these
nights; for there are all sorts of mysterious rites
going on in the camp. Certain rites preceding
the Sun Dance can be carried out only after mid-
night, such as the "fixing5 of the great Saam
Okuuinuns—medicine pipes—big pipes wrapped
up in many swathings like a corpse, which have
not seen the light of day in more than four hun-
dred years. These pipes must be opened only in
the darkest darkness of the night, and no one but
the medicine-man can touch them. When they
are to be passed on to a new keeper for the year,
that keeper must be sneaked upon by the medi-
cine-man and his assistants, while he is asleep,
and carried out of the teepee while he is still
slumbering, to some mysterious medicine tent,
where the ancient pipe is opened and smoked and
passed on to him for one year. Fortunate is the
person into whose keeping one of these famous
pipes is entrusted; for they are said to bring good
luck.

All during these nights we hear the padded
thud of moccasined feet as these mysterious groups
of braves make their way through the darkness
to some unknown destination. Never a word.
Sometimes we boys would raise the side of the

14.6